Mark Wright, 2014 winner of The Apprentice shares invaluable quick wins to survive covid-19

Chatting to Mark Wright is as real and upfront as the advice given to him by his mentor Lord Sugar. Read more: Mark Wright, 2014 winner of The Apprentice shares invaluable quick wins to survive covid-19

Mark Wright, 2014 winner of The Apprentice shares invaluable quick wins to survive covid-19

Chatting to Mark Wright is as real and upfront as the advice given to him by his mentor Lord Sugar. Speaking to Business Matters Magazine for our inaugural podcast, he describes the corona crisis as the ‘hardest experience of his life and career to date.’

Mark Wright, co-founder and managing director of Climb Online spent thirty minutes discussing ways to navigate through the crisis. To hear his full experience and follow his full advice please subscribe to the free podcast and end the week with renewed fighting spirit ready to push your business forwards next week.

So how have you found this so far?

It’s been an absolute rollercoaster, a lesson in management, in business, in cash flow, in structuring and an overall masterclass for business in a crisis. I know I’m not alone in that at all and I think that every single business owner will have a very similar story to me.

Lord Sugar said to me that in the sixty years that he’s been in business he’s never seen anything as significant or business changing across every single industry as this. He said very solemnly that it will be the biggest crisis and recession that he will have seen during his lifetime and career and that’s pretty frightening to hear from someone with such a vast experience. That said, he’s now fully up to speed with Zoom and Whatsapp so from 6:30am he’s on our case – full days, no slowing down.

What advice has he given to you?

Lord Sugar puts everything in very simple terms and the main advice that I’ve got from him is to do the same. Keep things simple and follow the numbers. If you do this you’ll gauge really early on in your business and sector which customers are able to trade and who are still spending and these are the ones that you need to go after really, really quickly. Lord Sugar was on the case with this straight away during the lockdown and we were able to identify these people and remodel our product to ensure that we could provide a meaningful service to those customers.

So you reacted really quickly.

Yes. Absolutely, along with that advice was the need for pace – how quickly you make the decisions and how quickly you move to effect them. I think that’s where he made me and all of the other Apprentice contestants really level up. We made a lot of decisions about finance, staff, cutting costs and changing products before a lot of businesses had really realised that there was a covid problem. That’s where having an exceptional mentor comes into play.

Have those decisions paid off?

I think our entire customer base was completely shaken up initially; the first three weeks were dire, but after that businesses realised that they still needed a brand presence, now more than ever. We sold more deals in the last seven days than we ever had as a record in the company with people listing new ecommerce website stores and people asking us to boost those stores out to their existing customer base as well as finding new customers for them. I think that no matter what the market is, business can never be held back – people will always find a new way of operating and that’s what we’re starting to see now.

Let’s drill down a bit to assist our readers. What can UK SME’s do for an easy quick win?

Yes, all businesses must have a web presence. We’re always going to need physical shops, all  consumers deserve an experience when they go shopping so I don’t think this is the end of offices or the high st, I think they’ll always have a presence but coming back to online you must have a website. If you are starting from scratch, start with the free social media channels while your site is being built. Having a Facebook account, google listing for your business are areas where you can list free of charge and also sell your products on to get started.Creating an app or a website for your product or service is such an easy way to talk to loads of local and international customers and it’s not as expensive as you think. Yes if you’re going to go all the way and really boost your products out there it can get quite expensive but you will get the reward. If you just want to stay local, sometimes just having a Facebook page or a small app built can be executed quickly, very cost effectively and get you trading sales which rival your physical store.

When you say fairly cost effectively, what would an average initial offering be?

You can build a very good website, a 10-15 page WordPress site for £1000 for a high standard now and yes that is crazy! I remember the days when websites were £20-30k for the same offering and the same for an app. There’s a lot of app builders out there who can build a simple app for £500-600 and set you up with a really good click and pay app for buying clothing, booking appointments – whatever it is your business does. The monthly upkeep is far cheaper than a physical store and the rewards far outweigh the costs once you get the results.

For companies that already have a web presence but they’re not ranking highly yet, what quick wins would you direct them to focus on?The absolute quickest win right now is free video content. List your business with a YouTube channel, an Instagram and Facebook account and start creating high quality content that demonstrates what your product/service does.  By the end of this year, 70%+  of what we consume on the internet will be video content so if you’re starting a website or moving online, you must think: video first. Also, 75% of traffic is on a mobile so you need to be very savvy about how you’re displaying things.

This could be overwhelming to some people – if so, where would you suggest to start?

I would implore any business owner to ask themselves: what are the frequently asked questions in my business and answer them through video content. Sharing that via the social media channels will enable them to analyse the results and engagement levels.The businesses that are being successful during this lockdown have hosted webinars and tutorials online and been busy producing video content. The businesses that are struggling are the ones who have sat there and done nothing, so it’s just a different thought process and mentality, but one which is all coming back to content creation and getting that out there on the right channels. During this lockdown I’ve seen so many tik tok videos, instagram videos, people are creating more video content than ever so you need to research the right channel for you and then become part of that movement.

Mark continues to deliver advice and his thoughts on pushing forwards – hear his podcast now and subscribe so you don’t miss next week’s edition.

Read more:
Mark Wright, 2014 winner of The Apprentice shares invaluable quick wins to survive covid-19

Source : Business Matters More   

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Employers to face tax and pension furlough cost demands

Companies could be asked to pay more in tax and employer pension contributions to keep staff on the government’s emergency wage support scheme. Read more: Employers to face tax and pension furlough cost demands

Employers to face tax and pension furlough cost demands

Companies could be asked to pay more in tax and employer pension contributions to keep staff on the government’s emergency wage support scheme.

Ministers are said to be considering forcing businesses that wish to continue using the state furlough programme to take responsibility for national insurance and pension payments if they wish to keep using it beyond the end of July.

The government is weighing up its options for how it can ask the private sector to share the cost burden of underwriting the salaries of furloughed staff.

The government has been paying 80 per cent of the wages of about eight million workers. The policy has cost more than £11 billion and the bill is expected to reach £50 billion by the end of July.

From August companies will be asked to contribute to the costs of the scheme but how much they will be asked to pay has not been announced. Employees have been promised they will continue to receive 80 per cent of their normal pay, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

The furlough programme was established in an attempt to convince businesses to keep employees on their books for when the economy restarts.

Employers’ groups have warned that many companies have had little or no revenues during the lockdown and that asking them to contribute significantly to the costs of the scheme would force them to make more redundancies at the end of July.

Bloomberg reported that options under consideration include making businesses pay all or some of the employer pension and national insurance contributions that the government has been picking up on their behalf.

It is understood that another approach being discussed is requiring employers to contribute 20 per cent of wages, with the government covering 60 per cent. A person familiar with the discussions, who asked not to be identified, said the thinking behind this was that it would allow the Treasury to say everyone is sharing the cost of the crisis.

Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, has said the government would continue to shoulder the “lion’s share” of the cost of the furlough scheme. The Treasury declined to comment.

Read more:
Employers to face tax and pension furlough cost demands

Source : Business Matters More   

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